Improper Seat Belt Use - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Improper Seat Belt Use

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KENNEWICK, Wash. - Washington State Troopers are stepping up seat belt enforcement.  Drivers should be aware that they could also get a ticket for not wearing their seat belt the right way.

Trooper Brian Luedtke said, "If your car is equipped with shoulder and lap restraints you must wear both to prevent injuries such as internal organ injuries, broken ribs, and things of that nature."

Troopers said wearing just the shoulder or the lap belt could actually do more harm than good. Luedtke said, "That shoulder belt can come up around your neck and actually decapitate you if worn alone."

Troopers are increasing enforcement in an effort to reduce the number of vehicle related deaths.

Any vehicle built past 1974 needs to have both lap and shoulder restraints and must be worn.  You can receive a ticket if you put the shoulder restraint behind your back. 

You can also receive a ticket if your automatic seat belt is broken and Troopers said many people complain that they cannot afford to get it fixed.

Luedtke said, "You might want to ask yourself if you can afford not to have it on.  The injuries you're going to sustain are going to be a lot more serious than the financial payment you would have to make to fix it."

Extra enforcement is starting within the next few days.  All the tickets cost $101.